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Friday, 24 October 2014 12:00 AM

What To Buy on Holiday in Morocco

Holidays in Morocco can be about many things – walking in stunning mountain scenery, camping in Berber tents in the dunes of the desert, relaxing on pretty beaches or exploring the historic cities and medina towns – but it is highly likely at some point that you will wander through a souk and say to yourself “oh, that’s lovely, it’d love fabulous at home, I wonder how much it is”.

In this article we cover a few of the items commonly found and what to watch out for.

Moroccan Goods

The artisans and shop owners of Morocco produce an excellent array of products that can be seen in most souks in most cities and significant towns. These are great little (but sometimes impractically huge) objects to bring home, items that you would rarely find at home, are great reminders of your holiday in Morocco or can be excellent little presents for others back home.

Moroccan Ceramics

Crockery and items made for ceramic / clay are normally very visible – highly coloured, very smooth and ranging from large decorative plates with Moroccan motifs through to small covered pots with tassels. Check the product very carefully for any imperfection that you are not happy with and then haggle hard, in the larger souks you will find many shops selling similar items. Tajines, the clay dishes that give the national dish its name, should be found in many places – in the more touristy areas they might be glazed and even decorated, but the authentic pot is unglazed an undecorated.

Moroccan Leather

Leather goods such as bags and slippers appear a bargain – items that you may be able to find at home for many times the price. Leather is produced in the tanneries of Morocco, most obviously in Marrakech and Fez (if you have time, seeing a tannery is a truly memorable and eye-opening experience) and is finished in a variety of colours but be very careful of the quality of the finished good. Whilst looking, feeling and smelling good, it is the stitching that is fundamental to whether its worth buying so take real care to check it has a chance of lasting reasonable wear back home.

Moroccan Wood

Wooden items (often in sandalwood) include beautifully carved animal figures and boxes of almost any size, simple gifts that can often easily be carried back home. The skill and time taken in creating these items is phenomenal and the prices can be excellent, and the quality should be relatively easy to check.

Moroccan Fabrics

Fabrics including scarves and rugs are wonderful gifts if you know what you are buying. Scarves can be simple cheap purchases but equally may be held out to be of a much higher quality and special fabric and rugs vary hugely in quality and price – if interested in a rug then take you time and learn what you should be looking for.

Moroccan Metalwork

Metal work including colourful lanterns and garden tables are certainly eye-catching and excellent value, and I always dream of having a heavy iron table inlayed with ceramic chips in my garden back home but the practicalities of transport and caution over vendor’s offers of posting items always holds me back.

Moroccan Spices and Oils

Spices and oils such as argan oil are everywhere, promoted with huge conical piles of “spice” outside the shop (the conical plies are not real spices). Speciality items such as argan oil and saffron must be bought with care as there is a lot of counterfeit product in these high priced goods, but equally be careful with your translations of various herbs and spices to ensure you are asking for the right thing